Writing Tips: Writing process

susannah ross writing consultant

How to give feedback on someone else’s writing

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Helpful criticism is one of the best ways of improving someone’s writing, but how to be critical without offending? The answer for some is not to give feedback at all, which is a lost opportunity for the writer. We all tend to feel that our writing represents us and are easily wounded by someone taking […]

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Epic writing and reading

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Did you hear the late Seamus Heaney’s reading of Beowulf on Radio 4? It sounded wonderful. I only vaguely followed the story, but that didn’t matter. It was still lovely to listen to and made me want to read it. Epics and sagas were meant to be listened to. Most weren’t written down until much […]

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To write well, play to your strengths

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Do you think of yourself as a bad writer? When I was at school I certainly thought I would never earn my living by writing. But here’s some encouragement from a writing coach whose newsletters I enjoy, Daphne Gray-Grant. In a recent blog post, Daphne points out that writing involves many skills, not just one. […]

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Collaborative writing

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At its best, collaborative writing can result in something better than any of the writers might have produced alone. At its worst, it can be a horribly painful and undermining experience. It goes like this: you write your draft report, then you send it round to all the other interested parties. They change what you’ve […]

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Don’t write – talk

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I was about to start coaching Steve (not his real name). He looked nervous, waiting to hear what I thought of the writing sample he’d sent me. I’d only known him for ten minutes but I liked him: he was funny and straightforward. Unfortunately, his writing was terrible. It was a speech for his boss, […]

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Feedback is good for you

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“Have yourself a merry little Christmas, it may be your last…” Believe it or not, that’s how the original version of this song began. That’s how the writer wanted it to begin. It had been commissioned for the Judy Garland film “Meet Me In St Louis”. The producer of the film pointed out that it […]

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Good and bad interviews

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After two days at the Hay Festival of Literature, I found myself thinking about the difference in quality of the interviewers of the authors.  The format is for each author to be interviewed by another writer, who then invites questions from the audience and chairs the discussion.   One interviewer I thought very good and another […]

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